Getting ready would involve a quick change into something which made it look as though I’d made a bit of an effort – at the very least shoes with a bit of a heel to jazz up whatever I was already wearing.
Plus a bit of make up; mascara and some lippy. And a quick spray of perfume. Amazing what you can do in five minutes.
Well that’s all changed. In fact the process is now almost the exact reverse. Gone are the heels, in are the wellies (much better in mud). Gone are the shorts in summer, in are the walking trousers (much better in nettles). Gone is the perfume, in is the bug spray (much better in midge clouds).
The walk now – to get to our nearest village and pub – is 20 minutes, down a lane, up a precarious bank, over a muddy field, past a paddock with horses and lamas and across an old churchyard.
Glamour is out, and practicality is very definitely in.
Thank goodness we’re not in the dating phase. Devoted Doctor looks equally scruffy, as does most everyone else when they venture out for a few pints. It’s almost a badge of honour around here to have a battered, mud-splattered jacket on.
Crinkle-free, shiny new Barbours are frowned upon, a bit like pristine 4 by 4’s that the well-heeled of West London used to drive on the school run, that had never seen a speck of mud in their lives.
So ‘popping out’ is a totally different prospect now. There are no tubes or night buses here. It takes precision planning. Who will be designated driver? Hence why it’s often easiest to walk across the fields. In fact the tube is one of the few things we miss here.
So often, popping out does turn into a tramp across the fields to our local; by far the easiest option, which means no one has to worry about sticking to diet coke. And no one has to worry about what they’re wearing either. It’s liberating and wonderfully relaxing. And so much more fun.
We wouldn’t swap our local, with its copper-topped log fire and slightly shabby old chairs, for all the cocktail bars in the world…
Goodbye clutch bag and hello head torch!
Marah Winn is a former London resident who has recently settled in Sussex.See also Marah's first column: The Critters